Date of Birth: 14th November
Location: Għaxaq (formerly Brussels, London and Luxembourg)
Star Sign: A true Scorpio
Occupation: Actress and Voice-Over Artist
Antonella Axisa started acting in primary school and never really stopped. However, some important turning points were attending Drama Centre for many years and then joining the theatre group Aleateia, with whom she performed in Malta and abroad in festivals. The next important milestone was finishing her Masters in Performance at Goldsmiths College, and then staying in London for a few more years working as an actress. When Antonella eventually moved to Brussels, she performed with Aleateia again and with a comedy band called Happy Rock’n’Roll. In Brussels, she started studying acting techniques that were very suited to the screen – the Meisner Technique and the Chubbuck Technique.
“That’s when I started taking part in short films and nurturing my wish to do more screen work – I then landed a part in Simshar as the wife of the Lieutenant who befriends Sharin.” At the beginning of this year, I spent a few months in Los Angeles with the help of the Malta Arts Fund, where I was attending classes, auditioning for different projects, observing lots of classes with different teachers and techniques, and just generally learning about life in Hollywood. I am now back in Malta after many years, and things are getting busier and busier. On my return, I took part in Staġun Teatru Malti’s satirical play by Wayne Flask called Sibna ż-Żejt and shortly after, I started filming for my role as Ashley in the TV series Ħbieb u Għedewwa. The first episodes that I feature in have just aired and I’m waiting eagerly for reactions to the character. I’m also busy with voice overs for commercials and videos, and I hope to continue doing more,” states Antonella in this interview.
How did you first discover drama and how do you work on your acting skills?
I always knew that I wanted to be a performing artist and when grown-ups asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, I always answered ‘a singer, a dancer or an actress’ as I couldn’t quite decide. As a small child, I remember grabbing anything I could put my hands on to use as a microphone and sing, dance and act in front of the mirror, inspired by my first idols – Italian TV stars like Raffaella Carra and Lorella Cuccarini. At some point, I decided that I love acting the most and concentrated on improving my acting skills by attending drama school. My first teacher was Stephen Florian. Something I’ll never forget is when he told us, “Being very sensitive is great for acting, but not for everyday life.” I always think of that when I get too sensitive and try to put things in perspective. As I mentioned, I trained a lot in subsequent years in various techniques and I believe firmly that as an actor, you can’t stop training. I do voice exercises regularly and keep my body in shape. It’s also my background in physical theatre with Aleateia that has instilled this sense of physicality in me that will never go away.
You’re also a voice-over artist. What does this entail exactly?
I love using my voice to create characters, and because I’m also a translator and a linguaphile, I love trying out different accents. In London and New York, I took some lessons about accents and on how to create a voice reel to showcase your voice talents. A voice reel is a collection of voice work which you’ve already done and/or a series of different files recorded in a professional studio which showcase your range. Then comes the not so easy task of marketing yourself as a voice over artist to find the work, and then delivering a good product when clients book you.
What challenges have you had to face in your chosen career?
Any acting career is like a marathon, where you have to work hard for a very long time in order to get somewhere and never give up. But the main challenge for a working actor is keeping in good spirits even in the face of rejection after auditions. If you’re working in busy places like London or Los Angeles, this could mean facing rejection constantly and having to learn how to become stronger rather than letting it get to you. Another big set of challenges come with moving to a new city/country to advance your acting career, and that’s never easy.
In your opinion what are the ingredients for world peace?
(Cries) “I really do want World Peace” – Miss Congeniality. Seriously, talking about world peace makes me think of the stereotype of all those beauty queen pageants, however I do really wish that there was no hatred in this world – there’s no need for it. I think that we should all start from our small circle and try and be kind, patient, generous and serene. If we all believe in these values and strive to live a good life, then we’re on the way to world peace. My two pence.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
I don’t know, maybe Little Woman?
What would you never, ever buy?
I rarely say never because it’s a scary word and I like change and not permanence. Having said that, I would never buy non-recycled toilet paper, in order to be environmentally-friendly.
Check out Antonella’s official Facebook page.